Love, Laughter, and Life

Adventures With a Book Lover


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Haiku Moment: broken

a heart, a country

seems indestructible, yet

words wound deeply: heal

broken by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley


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Book Review: Happy Birthday Winter by Justin Ogden and David Condry

Happy Birthday Winter

Words by Justin Ogden

Pictures by David Condry

Justin Ogden & David Condry, 2020

I was recently gifted a copy of Happy Birthday Winter from Sylvia Liu, Elaine Kiely Kearns, and KidLit411 at http://www.kidlit411.com/2020/12/the-weekly-411-121120.html. Thank you!

Have you ever imagined having a birthday party for Winter? This delightful picture book shares the story of a young girl and her father who celebrate a very special day with Winter-the very first snowfall of the year. This easy read is just what young children need as they prepare to enjoy winter snow.

Why I Liked This Book:

~ snow and winter!

~ simple text sharing the story of a special day between a daddy and daughter

~ beautiful, colorful illustrations that make me want to join the party!

~ winter activities are highlighted as the characters enjoy the birthday party

~ easy to hold size for young hands

~ fascinating “snowflake” backmatter

~ the evident love of nature and the outdoors seen in the book

Thank you, Justin and David!

Blurb from KidLit411:

About the Book:  Happy Birthday Winter aims to bring joy and curiosity to the changing of the seasons. As the world in which the characters live changes from Fall to Winter, the characters embark on a journey to continue a tradition of celebration to welcome the Winter Season. 

Read more about Happy Birthday Winter at https://happybdaywinter.wixsite.com/happybdaywinter


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Book Review: One Little Child by Joye Smith

One Little Child

Written by Joye Smith

Illustrated by Gayle West

Woman’s Missionary Union, SBC; 2019

I was delighted to receive a copy of One Little Child. Thank you, Joye Smith and Woman’s Missionary Union!

Written by Joye Smith, preschool consultant and Preschool Resource Team Leader for Woman’s Missionary Union, this lovely picture book shares ways even the smallest child can help others around the world. Gayle West filled the pages with wonderful full-spread illustrations featuring preschoolers, families, and people in need of some of the most basic necessities. I love the combination of text and illustrations that share the stories and inspire readers to get involved in helping others.

Clothing, housing, food, access to medical care, clean drinking water, and protection from weather are just a few of the needs and situations preschoolers read about in One Little Child. While the subject matter is serious, the delicate handling of tough issues provides hope and strategies for young readers to care, pray, and help in their own way. This book is well-written using words and emotions perfect for the preschool audience and their families.

Back Cover Blurb:

Through images of children from around the world, One Little Child encourages preschoolers’ care for others and teaches that they have a place in helping others as part of God’s plan.

Read more about One Little Child at https://www.wmustore.com/one-little-child.


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The Things We Do for Cats

Eh-hem. Cats. Once you have one, I mean a cat has decided you are worthy of serving its needs, you will realize the lengths one goes to to make sure said cat is happy and has all her Highness requires.

Cat patio? Check. Multiple concrete cat patios? Why, yes. Strategically placed throughout garden areas, including under the RV deck, where, incidentally, the Great Hunter loves to gnosh on freshly caught mice and voles. And birds. One never knows when she will gift us with a leftover foot, skull, liver, or fluff of feathers. For certain there are stains we cannot get out.

Cat shelter/cute house to hang out in when the weather is inclement? The Favorite Lap Guy just built her a new pad over Christmas break.

Cat tree? Yes (and quite a furniture saver it is). New cat tree which turned out to be sized for kittens? Returned.

Replacement sisal rope added to decimated anchor leg of favorite cat tree? Just completed. Has she used it yet? Nope.

We are testing one leg at a time to see if it holds up.

Fuzzy blankets galore? Check.

Heated blanket for cold days? I mean for the people (but the cat claims it)? Plug it in and let’s get this show on the road.

Favorite cat food (both dry and canned), cat treats, and a special cat toy basket? Stashed in proper cat food basket.

Strategically placed light-weight items on top of the printer to keep the solid-weight cat from sitting there and breaking it? Done. Not you? Well. Princess Monet deems that location perfect for gazing west through the RV window.

Wire fencing placed across winterized garden beds? (You KNOW why.) All set.

Roof added to top of TARDIS garden shed so cat can shelter out of hot sun? Done and done.

Vet on speed dial to order anti-“straw” meds? Definitely. (We prefer to call tapeworms “straw.” Oh, look? Is that straw? Time for more meds. It sounds nicer than the actual term. And. They do look like bits of straw.)

Evening chores are rushed through so the Cat can have her lap of choice for her evening resting pleasure? Certainly. And, BTW, said lap is not mine. She is a Daddy’s girl through and through. Unless food is involved. Then whomever has it is favorite.

Pillows poised to be pulled to the bed edges so the Princess can sleep smack in between Mom and Dad’s heads? Ugh. Yes. Nothing like waking up with someone’s tail-end right up against your chin. Or open one’s eyes to see two alert ready-to-get-up ears pointed right at you. Sleep in? What’s that?

But. Cats. We do it all because we love our kitties. What “special” things do you do for your royal felines? Perhaps Monet needs just one or two more human habits to make her life truly happy, and you know just the right thing. Do share. Her Highness is waiting.

Do you see the cat? She’s there.


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Gingerbread and Pillowcases

Not much was the same in 2020.

We became creative, inventive, technologically gifted, resourceful-all in the effort to live life and connect with fellow humans. Plans were ditched or tossed aside, trips canceled, 35th anniversary trips to magical locations did not occur. Birthday parties became drive-by’s. Travel screeched to a standstill as nature locations filled to overflowing with folks desperate to get outside. To get OUT. Childcare and transfer between shared-custody parents became fraught with contact points and who was sick and who was with whom when they got sick. Schooling reached new heights of teamwork between parents, teachers, and Nana’s. Vocabulary increased to include 2020-specific words like virtual learning, hybrid learning, Google Classroom, Zoom, Loom, Chrome Book, internet capabilities, mute yourself. DIY projects blossomed and not once was Lowe’s closed. I suspect they, and other home improvement stores, had a banner year of profits due to the frenzy of home projects. That, along with shortages of flour, yeast, sugar, and toilet paper gave insight to what most of us were doing. Staying home, fixing up, and baking.

The traditions were the hardest to “fix.” Outdoor gatherings, socially distant of course, and much fuss over wearing masks (cute, cotton, and washable) has become so normal, I fear for our social skills and facial expressions once the pandemic settles down.

And then Christmas. How to do gingerbread houses? Carefully. In a huge area. With only healthy grands.

And Christmas gifts? Christmas pillowcases became my idea of the year. Totally reusable gift bags, tied with jump ropes. Open your gifts, put your gift bag, er, pillowcase, on your pillow for a good, snowy night’s sleep. Why didn’t I think of this before? Sure, sewing them on Christmas Eve Day is not advisable, but it did allow me to work my way through several Hallmark Christmas Movies as I cut, pinned, sewed, and ironed. And I’ve already purchased my fabric for next year to avoid the same rush. (We might check back on that one, because having purchased fabric is not the same as having sewn the pillowcases. . ..)

Gingerbread cookies were baked yesterday. December 30. They taste just as good, no matter the date, especially plain, with coffee.

Are things looking up for 2021? I certainly hope so. But even if the recovery is slow, I know we can do it. We’ve had all of 2020 to figure out how to make things work. Like in the days of the Depression, our ancestors made do, made it work, or made do without it. We are ready.

May the Lord go before us, bless us, and keep us as we journey into the new year! See you next year!


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Haiku Moment: a la mode

arrange sweet apples

topped with winter’s cream; is it

nature’s a la mode?

a la mode by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

December, West Valley


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Book Reviews: The Butterfly Tree by Kelly Harrison Spining; The Adventures of Chips & Salsa by Cynthia Petillo; Lunk by Connor Anvar

I am sharing three books in this post. Please scroll down to read more about each books.

The Butterfly Tree

Written by Kelly Harrison Spining

Illustrated by Abby Rocha

Mascot Books: December 8, 2020

The Adventures of Chips & Salsa

Written by Cynthia Petillo

Illustrated by Ana Sebastian

Mascot Books: December 8, 2020

Lunk

Written by Connor Anvar

Illustrated by Tristan Tait

Mascot Books: December 1, 2020

The Butterfly Tree by Kelly Harrison Spining

Who wouldn’t love a butterfly tree? This tale of three evokes memories of a folk tale. Three trees, three personalities and gifts, and three opportunities to welcome a tired butterfly. But only one has the gift of hospitality. I enjoyed this lovely tale of looking beyond appearances and importance to see what is truly in someone’s heart.

Amazon Blurb:

Three trees sat upon a grassy hill, two tall and strong, one small and frail. As the gentle breezes of spring blew one day, a beautiful butterfly floated by looking for a new home. What happened next would create a lifelong friendship between two unlikely creations of nature. Inspired by the writers experience of seeing the beauty of a tree covered in butterflies, The Butterfly Tree conveys a timeless message of love and acceptance.

The Adventures of Chips & Salsa by Cynthia Petillo

Chips loved his neighborhood and watching out the window. When neighbors moved in, Chips met a new friend named Salsa. Play time at the local dog park offered Chips and Salsa plenty of opportunity to play with friends, and unfortunately, have run-ins with dog bullies. I enjoyed reading about this story about a hero in a tiny package and changed hearts.

Amazon Blurb:

Meet Chips, a happy-go-lucky, friendly beagle, and his pals as they welcome Salsa, a tiny, shy Chihuahua who is new to the neighborhood. The dogs become fast friends and, before they know it, find themselves on a playful adventure in the park. And though Salsa may be tiny, he proves that true loyalty, friendship, and love come in all sizes. Join Chips and Salsa as they take readers on a fun-filled and exciting journey full of new adventures!

Lunk by Connor Anvar

Oh, Lunk! A plain chicken wants to be a fancy lunkalicious chicken. But things do not go as planned for the fancy version of himself. I laughed as I read this fairy tale tale (including a fairy chicken godfather). This fun tale was written by six-year-old Connor Anvar.

Amazon Blurb:

Lunk is an ordinary chicken who desires to become something greater. As his wish comes true, he wonders if his new life will bring him the happiness he was expecting.

Books can be found at www.mascotbooks.com or on www. amazon.com.


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Haiku Moment: fall’s siren song

crimson flames top trees,

fire-tipped shelter burns my eyes

with fall’s siren song

fall’s siren song by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell, Yakima Valley


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Haiku Moment: snags

barbed rust hinders, snags,

weathered disrepair guards path;

time soldiers on, march!

snags by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell

Horsethief Butte, Columbia River, Washington


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Haiku Moment: calico

variegated purr

motley winter pelage shines

dappled kitten love

calico by Angie Quantrell

photo by Angie Quantrell